SUFFOLK COUNTY, MA (The Boston Herald) – Two illegal immigrant gang members were seized by ICE agents inside two separate Suffolk County courts Monday, officials said — the same day DA Rachael Rollins filed a federal suit against the agency to keep them out of the courts.
Elmer Hernandez-Montes was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers after reporting to Chelsea District Court. He has been deported three times before, ICE spokesman John Mohan told the Herald.
“Hernandez-Montes is a citizen of El Salvador who illegally re-entered the United States after having been removed three times. He was arrested at the Chelsea District Court. ICE will seek his removal following the resolution of the local criminal charges against him,” Mohan said.
Hernandez-Montes was arrested in Chelsea for drinking alcohol in public, and his past record includes eight arraignments for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, breaking and entering and trespassing, an ICE official said.
Hernandez-Montes is also a member of the 18th Street gang and goes by the handle of “Gato,” or cat, the official added. He has been given a “final order” of removal from the country.
“If he hadn’t been arrested in court, he’d be out on the street,” an ICE official added.
Jose Hernandez Rodriguez, a citizen of El Salvador, was also arrested Monday in East Boston District Court, ICE said.
“Rodriguez has been placed into immigration proceedings, ICE will seek his removal pending the outcome of the local criminal charges against him,” Mohan said.
Rodriguez is a member of the ruthless MS-13 gang, according to ICE, and he was arrested by Boston police for unlawfully carrying a dangerous weapon.
Both arrests inside the Suffolk courts came as Rollins and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced they had filed a federal suit aimed at keeping ICE officers out of state courthouses.
Taking a defiant stand against U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, who last week indicted a judge for allegedly helping an illegal immigrant defendant evade ICE, Rollins said: “I am in no fear of arrest. And, very candidly, if I am, it would be my honor.”
Rollins has told her prosecutors to alert her to the presence of ICE agents in courthouses, and to tailor charges to avoid impacting a defendant’s immigration status.
The DAs’ lawsuit comes just days after a Newton judge and a court officer were indicted on federal charges of conspiring to help an illegal immigrant escape out the basement door of Newton District Court last spring.